Redhawks drop conference game to RNE

COLUMBIA – Westwood had a chance to score some go-ahead runs in the top of the fourth inning at Richland Northeast, but the Redhawks weren’t so fortunate Tuesday night.

Three Westwood batters struck out to end the inning, and the Cavaliers added four runs in the sixth to walk away with a 7-2 victory over the Redhawks.

“We’ve got a pretty good team, got a lot of juniors and seniors,” first-year coach Vince Connor said. “We should be ready to compete but had a rough night tonight.”

Westwood (3-3 overall, 1-1 Region III-4A) scored two runs in the second to take an early lead. Three straight Cavalier errors enabled Westwood to score the first run.

Bryce Henson reached base on an infield grounder when third baseman Kevin Mueller couldn’t make a play to first. Henson was safe stealing second and then took third on catcher Shane Thomas’ throwing error.

Henson came home when Ethan Barton chopped a ball to Mueller at third. Mueller charged the ball and it bounced over his head, enabling Henson to score.

Justin Davis struck out, but Barton moved to second, and then to third as Joey Gonzales batted. Later, a wild pitch from RNE pitcher Tucker Dove enabled Barton to score from third.

Dove struck Gonzales out to retire the side.

The Cavaliers got a run on two hits in the bottom of the second, then took a 3-2 lead in the third.

Jason English looked to start things up with a 1-out infield single, but was picked off taking second when Chase Asbill reached on an error.

Dove also reached on another Westwood error, which also enabled Asbill to score the first run. After Peter Purkall drew a walk, Shane Thomas singled in Evan Jones, who was pinch running for Dove.

Eli Clements ended the inning on an infield popup.

That set up the Redhawks’ fourth-inning opportunity. Bryant Williams drew a 1-out walk, and moved to second on Bryce Henson’s single. Ethan Barton struck out for the second out, but Justin Davis loaded the bases when he reached on a dropped third strike.

Dove, who worked a complete-game five-hitter and struck out eight, fanned Gonzales for the second time on the night.

“It’s hard to win games when you leave that many guys on base,” Connors said. “We were uncharacteristically chasing pitches out of the zone, and it almost seemed like we were playing a little bit tight. We had a chance to bust it open there, but we got really tight.”

Westwood stayed within one run of the Cavaliers until the bottom of the sixth. Hayden Caldwell, who worked three innings in relief of starting pitcher Joseph Bennett, gave up four runs on four hits and a Redhawks error.

“Hayden’s been great,” Connors said. “We moved his arm slot a little bit in the offseason, and he’s been pretty much lights since. He’s gonna be a big part of what we’re doing, throws the ball well, moves the ball around, it’s hard to pick up.”

WHS – 0 – 2 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 2

RNE – 0 – 1 – 2 – 0 – 0 – 4 – x – 7

WP: Tucker Dove LP: Joseph Bennett

HITTING: WHS – Edwin Olmeda 2-3. RNE – Shane Thomas 2-3, Tucker Dove 2-4.

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